China's exports experienced the sharpest decline in three years in February, while imports fell for the third consecutive month.
The sluggish start to the year is a stark reminder for USA and Chinese negotiators how much is at stake for the global economy as they try to cool their trade war.
"Today's trade figures reinforce our view that China's trade recession has started to emerge", Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd economist Raymond Yeung (楊宇霆) said in a note.
During the Jan-Feb period, China's trade with the European Union, ASEAN countries, and Japan increased 8.9 percent, 1.9 percent and 4 percent, respectively, while trade with countries along the Belt and Road registered faster-than-average growth, with the combined trade volume standing at 1.28 trillion yuan (about 191 billion US dollars), up 2.4 percent year on year.
China is on track to become the world's largest LNG importer for more than a month as Japan continues restarting its nuclear reactors, which will affect its LNG imports negatively and lead it to cede the top spot in imports of liquefied natural gas to China sooner rather than later.
On Friday, Willems said the two countries had made progress in talks but that there was still much more left to be done.
Optimism about a rapid resolution of the months-long US-China trade war was undercut by conflicting comments out of Washington and Beijing, sending global stock markets on a downward slide on Friday.
Every Disney movie will be included on Disney Plus streaming service
Basically, it's the name given to the company's policy of making individual films only available for a limited time period. While Iger didn't reveal a launch date for Disney +, he did say that the service will debut later this year.
United Kingdom targets surge in offshore wind power
As part of the country's modern Industrial Strategy, Britain aims to become a global leader in renewable sectors with more investment potential than any other country in the world.
European Central Bank cuts growth, inflation forecasts
The most active gold contract for April delivery rose 13.20 dollars, or 1.03 percent, to settle at 1,299.30 dollars per ounce. Exports tumbled 16.6 percent year-on-year in yuan terms, while imports fell by 0.3 percent.
Washington and Beijing a year ago exchanged punitive tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade but have recently indicated they are close to coming to terms. China's exports to all of its major markets fell across the board last month.
"China is set to have a hard time on trade, because on the US front there is the trade war, and on the European Union front the economy is really weakening", said Tommy Xie, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.in Singapore.
The country's global trade surplus was USD43.7 billion.
Machinery exports decreased 12 percent to US$1.58 billion, while exports of electronics components were down 8.3 percent to US$6.42 billion.
Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said he was optimistic about negotiations with Washington, but added any trade mechanism achieved must be equal and fair.
Taiwan reported its biggest export drop in over 2-1/2 years on Friday, with shipments to China down 10.4 percent.